2021 Jeep Gladiator Is Even Better Off-Road Than Before

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This is one tough midsize truck.

Combining Jeep's legendary off-road capability with the appeal of a truck, the Gladiator was a welcome addition to the Jeep stable. The range has gradually gotten more diverse, with confirmation in July that a torque-rich 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine would be joining the lineup. Now, Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles has unpacked more of the finer details pertaining to the 2021 Gladiator.

Along with the new diesel engine option, a full-time four-wheel-drive system is now offered on every Gladiator, the Sport trim is now available with LED headlamps and fog lamps, and the Overland is offered with the TrailCam forward-facing off-road camera.

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As reported recently, special Gladiator 80th Anniversary Edition and Willys models will join the range. The former features mostly aesthetic upgrades in the form of 18-inch wheels with a Granite Crystal finish, exterior accents in a sporty Neutral Grey metallic, berber floor mats, unique badging, and an 8.4-inch touchscreen. The tough Gladiator Willys comes with a limited-slip rear differential, 32-inch mud-terrain tires, and rock rails.

The five primary trims comprise the Sport, Sport S, Overland, Mojave, and Rubicon. As before, the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 manages 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, while the new EcoDiesel generates 260 hp/442 lb-ft.

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A six-speed manual gearbox is standard with the gas engine and an eight-speed automatic is optional, with the diesel limited to the latter transmission. Whereas the gas engine has a towing capacity of 7,650 pounds, this drops to 6,500 lbs with the diesel. However, the diesel fights back with best EPA economy estimates of 22/28/24 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles, with the gas V6 managing a best of only 17/22/19 mpg.

On the Sport, Overland, and Mojave, the 4WD system's Selec-Trac two-speed transfer case has a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio. However, on the Rubicon with its Rock-Track full-time two-speed transfer case, there is a 4:1 low-range gear ratio.

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The Mojave is equipped for high-speed off-roading across sandy terrain with its FOX 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks, 33-inch tires, and FOX front hydraulic jounce bumpers. For crossing wet terrain, the Gladiator's 30 inches of water fording capability will come in handy.

Jeep hasn't yet announced prices for the 2021 Gladiator range, but the 2020 Gladiator starts off at $33,545 and a 2021 dealership order guide indicates that the EcoDiesel will cost $4,000 more than the equivalent gas model. An exact on-sale date has yet to be announced, although an earlier social media post from Jeep indicated that the 2021 EcoDiesel will be available in winter 2020.

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